DIAL# logo i streg

A project for global quality education

See a 2 min video on how a teacher uses an Active Learning Item:

What is the Distance Active Learning project?

The distance active learning project, DIAL#, provides quality assignments for pupils and a network for teachers.

The purpose is that pupils of ages 12-18 will develop their skills and competencies through active problem solving in their own communities. The project is in primarily targeted least developed areas, where pupils rarely meet these effective teaching methods, but it is available to everyone.

The core of DIAL# is a platform (website/app), where teachers can find and share ready-to-use Active Learning Items, for their pupils to solve in groups and as a class. The learning items are continuously supplied and developed by the participating teachers in a peer review process. All items will be labelled with learning outcomes and relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals.

This way of learning build on social constructivism and the methods are basically labelled active learning and cooperative learning, though other methods will also come into play.

Who is behind this project?

I am Henrik Bregnhøj and I initiated the project in discussion with professional colleagues.

  • I am an environmental engineer, PhD, from the Technical University of Denmark, DTU.
  • I worked with sustainability and least developed countries at DTU for 25 years. My courses and numerous capacity development projects led me to engage particularly with teching and learning.
  • For the past 17 years my focus has also been on online and blended learning, latest 6 years as e-learning consultant at University of Copenhagen. I have attended conferences and published numerous articles on didactical and development issues.
  • I also worked in large consulting companies and my own Good Deed Consulting, for customers like World Bank, EU and Danida. I have work experience in 17 countries in Africa, SE Asia and Latin America.
  • I do voluntarily work with a small NGO, a water and climate project in India.

I look forward to work with more professionals and organisations to develop this project!

What problem does DIAL# address?

The DIAL project addresses the problem of too much poor quality teaching and the resulting failure in education of the young generation in least developed countries and places. 

Every situation is different, but in least developed places you often find outdated teaching and learning methods, delivering (often) irrelevant curricula that do not provide the pupils with useful and practical life skills.

The result is that the pupils obtain generally poor analytical skills and problem solving competencies, and therefore they later on have extremely poor background to contribute to the innovation and entrepreneurship, that is so much needed in their societies.

The project will have a particular focus on least developed areas like rural and peri-urban settings, where computers and internet is not yet used daily by pupils, but aim at supporting various levels of connectivity.

DIAL# will be a direct support to obtain SDG no. 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education.

What is on the DIAL# platform?

The DIAL platform (website+app) is special designed Open Educational Resource (OER) platform, withe additional features:

  • Active Learning Items can be searched and downloaded. They are auto-translated into main languages, and verified by the network participants.
  • A forum for upload, development, discussion and review of new Active Learning Items.
  • Other pedagogical resources and inspirational material and discussion hereof.
  • Integration or links to approved open access useful software like e.g. GPS mapping tool, open office & data management programs and survey software. Pupils’ work with the learning items does not generally require the use of software, but some may.

With time, activities like online conferences will develop on the platform.

What is an Active Learning Item?

An Active Learning Item is an assignment that requires an active research-like effort to solve. It typically require the pupils to collect information or measure things in their local area, analyse the data in groups, possibly with the use of reference materials and necessary tools, and consolidate the results with the rest of the class.

All Active Learning Items are clearly tagged with

  • the Sustainable Development Goals that it contributes to, in order to build pupils engagement with relevant societal issues.
  • recognizable generic Learning Outcomes in order to document the didactical relevance.

Active Learning items have generally no “correct” answer; solutions are all unique, based on the pupils own area. The pupils will instead be able to compare with summary solutions from classes in other regions / countries / continents, thereby getting inspiration and an extra learning outcome. The classes are therefore encouraged to share their summary solution on the DIAL# platform.

Assignments within the natural science and social science areas could be in focus in the beginning, as these subject areas are easier to learn with concrete examples.

Why would teachers work with DIAL#?

Because DIAL# gives teacher opportunity to teach better and get more job satisfaction.

School teachers generally strive to help their pupils learn as much as possible. Around the world teachers differ in personality, style, engagement and abilities, but also working conditions, rules, funds sets limits to the level of success.

DIAL# seeks to engage teachers who has a wish to improve their teaching with interesting and innovative assignments, that contribute to reach the pupils’ learning goals. It is expected that the more active teachers will attract other teachers in their school and network.

The teachers will get an opportunity to participate in an informal international networking with other likeminded teachers, that is based on encouragement and transparency. With time DIAL# will develop more formalised activities like online workshops and conferences.

Why would pupils do DIAL# assignments?

It is the teacher who gives an assignment to the pupils, and the pupils will find them fun and educational.

All children are born with a sound curiosity and a drive for learning. Learning is the purpose of attending school, but due to e.g. poor institutional frames and poverty, a large proportion of the pupils do not learn what is intended.

Active Learning Items gives the opportunities for every pupil to work actively with a subject, which is close to their daily life, so that they understand the relevance immediately. They will also work together with their peers and finally consolidate their findings together with the whole class. Finally, the possible comparison with summary results from classes in other places will add to the learning experience.

All the above will bring motivation and excitement into their school work, that will get them back to curiosity and help them gain competences.

Why would others work with DIAL#?

Organisations and individuals working with improving education in various ways will find that DIAL# can add a substantial additional input to their projects and purpose. Because of the spreading effect of the global platform everyone will benefit from all the others' inputs and the result is an improved quality of teaching in one's own projects.

We need

  • teachers who will share their amazing assignments with their peers around the world.
  • organisations in the education and development sector, who will use the assignments actively in pursuing their goals in their projects around the world.
  • skilled people to e.g. standardising suggestions for assignments, programming and updating the DIAL# platform, promotion & communication and project development.

Why would someone fund DIAL#?

It is absolutely necessary that the participation of teachers in the least developed areas is free of charge. In the longer run financing may come from advertisement in connection with some software or other parts of the website, but in the beginning funding is needed to get started.

Private and public donors, who are funding development projects and Sustainable Development Goals may see this as an investment

  • that both will show quick and ongoing visible results of teachers’ and classes participating and producing outputs in the form of shared summary solutions and teachers networking,
  • and also very much needed long term results in the form of the young generations improved competencies that leads to innovation and entrepreneurism in the least developed countries.

The outcomes of this project is directly on the Quality Education Goal no. 4, but it also addresses most other SDGs at the foundation of young people’s minds, which should be of interest to donors.

How do I get in touch with DIAL#?

Now in 2021 the project is still in the making. The project idea is born in Denmark, but we seek collaboration all over the world.
The intention is to establish a group of people and organisations in mid 2021, apply for funding and set up a pilot project from end of 2021.

If you are a teacher, an organization, a programmer or project skilled person who wants to work with DIAL# or wants to know more, please contact Henrik Bregnhøj at info@gooddeed.dk